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Michael Walls

Picture 2004



Michael Walls - AKA "Pokey"


These are the early years — pre web

OnlinedesignFLA.com, InternetOutsourceTampabay.com and my latest project, Search-Engine-Upgrade.com are all products of years of eclectic vocations. I spent my early years as a professional musician in Washington DC and Miami, Florida, Studied Journalism in college, was a radio disc jockey in Northern Virginia, was a commercial photographer and even spent some dreary weeks as a telemarketer.

I played in many groups over the years, but I made a name for myself early on in DC at age 19 with the Chartbusters. I also recorded the almost hit "Shake" with the British Walkers. It was Vernon Sandusky who gave me the nickname "Pokey" as I was always the last member on stage. The nickname stuck and most DC musicians didn't even know my real name, just "Pokey".

I was fortunate to play with some of the greatest guitarists in the world, including the legendary Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton. Washington DC was loaded with great guitarists from the 60's to up into the eighties. Unfortunately all the talent in DC escaped great success unless they left town.

I was also fortunate to play the first ever Earth Day celebration in DC and our band "Tractor" was seen in PBS special on the founding of the event. It plays every year on Earth Day. I left Tractor when they refused a record deal with Felix Pappalardi of Mountain fame. I was replaced by two people - a singer and a drummer.

Miami FL
In 1970 I moved to the Miami area and played music there. After some time in the house band at the Seven Seas Lounge in the Newport Beach Resort I was urged to get off the drums and "go out front" and form a show band.

I recruited Richie Puente (played bass and congas - at once!) and he recruited Ishl Ledesma, a singer / guitarist, from the newly defunct group "Timberflash".

After failed attempts at finding a suitable drummer, I said "screw the show band idea" and played drums and sang. I wanted to name the group "the Miami Heat" (way before the team. folks) but got outvoted and the group was named " Foxy". That was the last group I was in in Miami. I returned to DC in '75'. I was replaced by two people - a singer and a drummer.

Danny Gatton

was a long time friend and I worked off an on with him for more than a decade. Danny was a master of anything with strings on it - especially a Fender Telecaster. It was he who recruited me to play in a group with Roy Buchanan for an upcoming PBS special with Bill Graham of Fillmore fame. We put the project together at the Crossroads - a large crab house and night club. This gig is where Roy's band name "The Snakestrechers" originated.

Roy Buchanan  had such a unique sound and reputation

that many famous musicians came to see him when they were in town. As I said above, I knew him and did jam sessions and was on a recording with him (can't remember the song) since the mid 60's but never actually worked in a group full time with him until the PBS show plans. I did a lot of recording sessions in DC the whole time I was there - even had some regional hits.

Danny Gatton was to play bass, but at the last moment Roy wouldn't let that happen. You can draw your own conclusions as to why, but there was always an element of competition between the two. I withdrew form the project, and the band, at this time and didn't do the show. I was replaced by two people - no, not a singer and a drummer this time. A drummer, and a tambourine player ;-}


The next stop on my bus was commercial photography. I was very impressed by Michael Denning of Philadelphia, who's walls were covered with celebrity promo pictures he had shot. I did corporate work in the DC area until I moved back to Florida.

It was here in Florida that I got into web site building. I got my first copy of Photoshop in 1995 to manipulate my photos and got sidetracked with making graphics for this new "web fad".  Little did I know........

.........by Michael Walls - in some places still known as "Pokey"

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